Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"The Sugawn Chair" by Sean O'Faolain

"The Sugawn Chair" by Sean O'Faolain  (1948, 5 pages)

Irish Short Story Month
March 1 to March 31

Sean O'Faolain

Event Resources

Please consider joining us for the event.  All you need to do is complete a post on any Irish Short Story  and let me know about it.  I will publicize your post and keep a master list. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.  

 Sean O'Faolain is one of Ireland's highest regarded short story writers.  Last year I posted on his superb story about an unfaithful wife, "The Faithless Wife", his very classic story, "The Trout" and "The Sinners".  I reread "The Faithless Wife" today and it for sure repaid a second reading.  It is so different from "The Sugawn Chair" and shows more of the talent and deep culture of O'Faolain.

Sean O'Faolain (1900 to 1991-Cork City, Ireland) was the son of a policeman.   He fought in the Irish War for Independence,  1919 to 1921.    He received M.A. degrees from the National University of Ireland and Harvard.    From 1940 to 1900 he was the director of a very prestigious Irish literary journal, The Bell.   His daughter Julia O'Faolain is a Booker Prize nominated author.  

O"Faolain was a very productive writer.   He published 13 books and over 90 short stories.   When collected, his short stories were over 1300 pages.   

"The Sugawn Chair" is a beautiful story about memories of simpler seeming days.  There are three man people in the story, a man thinking about his growing up days and his remembered parents.   One of his strongest memories is of a large sack they used to get periodically full of the produce of the farm of the wife's family.  They live in Dublin now and sometimes they long for the country and sometimes they are a bit embarrassed by their rural roots.   The descriptions of the feelings of the couple and their son was wonderful.  Whenever a sack arrives the parents are reminded of their courting days and the son loves seeing their feeling of love return.   The father has a favorite chair he loves to sit in.  One day, in a moment of hilarity to his wife and son, he goes crashing through the seat of the chair.   Several of his friends come over to help him make a new seat for the chair out of traditional material.  It was very interesting to see how this was done.   The story evokes a strong love for family and the ways of Ireland.

"Breakfast on me"-Rory
I read this work in The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories edited by William Trevor.  It also has "The Faithless Wife".  If you were going to buy only one anthology of Irish short stories, I would say buy this one.   

I have another of his short stories "Unholy Living and Half Dying" in another collection but I think I will save it for 2014, I hope!

"So happy to be back in ISSMIII" - Ruprecht

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